Photo Credit: Lee Pellegrini

Maxim D. Shrayer

b. 1967

Current City, State, Country

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts and South Chatham, Massachusetts, USA

Birth City, State, Country

Moscow, USSR


Maxim D. Shrayer, bilingual author, scholar and translator, was born in Moscow in 1967 to a Jewish-Russian family with Ukrainian and Lithuanian roots and spent over eight years as a refusenik. He and his parents, the writer David Shrayer-Petrov and the translator Emilia Shrayer, left the USSR and immigrated to the United States in 1987. Shrayer received a PhD from Yale University in 1995. He a professor at Boston College, where he cofounded the Jewish Studies Program. Shrayer has authored and edited more than twenty-five books of poetry, nonfiction, criticism, fiction, and translations. His poetry collections include the Russian-language volumes Tabun nad lugom (Herd above the Meadow, New York 1990), Amerikanskii romans (American Romance, Moscow 1994), N’iukheivenskie sonety (New Haven Sonnets, Providence, 1998), and Stikhi iz aipada (Poems from the iPad, Tel Aviv, 2022), and the English-language Of Politics and Pandemics (Boston, 2020). Among Shrayer’s other books are the literary memoirs Waiting for America, Leaving Russia, and Immigrant Baggage, and the collections Yom Kippur in Amsterdam and A Russian Immigrant: Three Novellas. Shrayer edited the anthology Voices of Jewish-Russian Literature. He is the recipient of a number of awards and fellowships, including a 2007 National Jewish Book Award and a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship. Shrayer’s publications have been translated into eleven languages, most recently Nabokov e o Judaísmo, published in Brazil in 2023. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Dr. Karen E. Lasser, a medical researcher and physician, their daughters, Mira Isabella and Tatiana Rebecca, and their silver Jewdle, Stella.

What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?

I have written extensively about growing up a Jewish refusenik, about Jewish roots in Eastern Europe, about witnessing the Shoah, and about immigrant Jewish identity in the USA and Israel. I am a citizen of both USA and Israel.

Published Works

Poetry in English
Of Politics and Pandemics: Songs of a Russian Immigrant (Boston: M-Graphics Publishing, 2020)

Poetry in Russian
Стихи из айпада (Poems from the iPad) (Tel Aviv: Babel Bookstore and Publishing, 2022)
Американский романс (American Romance) (Moscow: Russlit, 1994)
Ньюхейвенские сонеты (New Haven Sonnets) (Providence, RI: APKA Publishers, 1998)
Табун над лугом (A Herd above the Meadow) (New York: Gnosis Press, 1990)

Prose in English
Immigrant Baggage: Morticians, Purloined Diaries, and Other Theatrics of Exile (Boston: Cherry Orchard Books, 2023)
A Russian Immigrant: Three Novellas (Boston: Cherry Orchard Books, 2019)
Soviet Phantoms Vacation in Chile. A Family Chronicle  (Brookline: Ladispoli Books, 2019)
With or Without You: The Prospect for Jews in Today’s Russia (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2017)
Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2013)
Yom Kippur in Amsterdam: Stories (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2009)
Waiting for America: A Story of Emigration (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2007)

Criticism and Biography
Nabokov e o Judaísmo: História e Memória antes e depois do Holocausto (São Paulo: Editora Recriar, 2023)
Антисемитизм и упадок русской деревенской школы: Астафьев, Белов, Распутин (Antisemitism and the Decline of Russian Village Prose: Astafiev, Belov, Rasputin) (St. Petersburg: Academic Studies Press/BiblioRosica, 2020)
Бунин и Набоков: История соперничества (Bunin and Nabokov. A History of Rivalry) (Moscow: Alpina Non-fikshn, 2014; 2nd. ed. 2015; 3rd, expanded ed. 2019; 4th, expanded ed. 2023)
I SAW IT: Ilya Selvinsky and the Legacy of Bearing Witness to the Shoah (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2013)
Genrikh Sapgir: Avant-garde Classic (with David Shrayer-Petrov) (St. Petersburg: Dmitrij Bulanin, 2004 [in Russian]. 2nd., corrected edition St. Petersburg: Bibliorossica, 2016. 3rd, corrected edition. Ekaterinburg: Izdatel’skie resheniia; Ridero, 2017)
Nabokov: Themes and Variations (St. Petersburg: Academic Project, 2000 [in Russian])
Russian Poet/Soviet Jew: The Legacy of Eduard Bagritskii (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000)
The World of Nabokov’s Stories (University of Texas Press, 1998)

An Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature: Two Centuries of Dual Identity in Prose and Poetry, 1801-2001 (M. E. Sharpe, 2007)
Voices of Jewish-Russian Literature. An Anthology (Academic Studies Press, 2018)

Edited Works
Studies in the History of Russian-Israeli Literature; Edited by Roman Katsman and Maxim D. Shrayer (Academic Studies Press, 2023)
Ocherki po istorii russko-izrail’skoi literatury; edited by Roman Katsman and Maxim D. Shrayer (Academic Studies Press, 2023)
The Parallel Universes of David Shrayer-Petrov: A Collection Published on the Occasion of the Writer’s 85th Birthday; edited by Roman Katsman, Maxim D. Shrayer, Klavdia Smola (Academic Studies Press, 2021)
Parallel’nye vselennye Davida Shraera-Petrova. Sbornik statei i materialov k 85-letiiu pisatelia; edited by Roman Katsman, Maxim D. Shrayer, Klavdia Smola (St. Petersburg: Academic Studies Press/Bibliorossica, 2021)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Current Title

Professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies, Boston College


Moscow State University
Brown University
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Yale University

Languages of Publication(s) and Poets Translated

Russian; Pavel Antokolsky, Eduard Bagritsky, Ilya Selvinsky, David Shrayer-Petrov; altogether over 30 Jewish-Russian and Russian-Israeli poets.

Subject Matter